Content Marketing: Leverage Data

  • COntent Marketing is Driven By Data

Today we are bombarded with information.  It would be factual to say that we are in a state of information overload.

Today, on the internet there are over 2 million blog posts published every day.

That’s a lot of content on the web, with more added every day.

It’s getting harder to get people to notice your content, and it’s far easier to blend into the noise.

Fortunately, there is a proven way to stand out from the crowd and get noticed by the masses. It starts with data.

Carol Forden Content Marketing:  Leverage Data  Why is Data Critical for Content Marketing?

Using data in your content marketing strategy can and will help tell a story in a unique and engaging way that will stand out over the unoriginal or repeat stories that all too common online today.

Content that utilizes fresh ideas, interesting stats, and findings based on research has a farther reach, garners more attention, and creates a stronger brand image.

Data needs to be a cornerstone of your content marketing campaigns.

Consumers are Looking for Educational Information

Consumers want to see new, relevant information that they haven’t seen before. They seek out original content to discover new ideas, solve pain points and problems.

An excellent way to expand your organic reach of your brand and drive brand awareness is to create new and original data; this establishes you as a thought leader in your category and go to resource.  This type of content is heavily shared and consumed by readers, expanding the organic reach of your content.

Publishers Are Looking for High Quality; Research-Backed Content

In-depth, interesting data appeals to press, bloggers and journalists. A survey of over 500 bloggers and journalists found that 39% demonstrated that the perfect piece of content contains exclusive and unique research.

Bloggers, journalists, and consumers are looking for this type of material. Spending the time and resources to create engaging, data-driven content increases your chances of having high-authority websites share your story.

Offering publishers the kind of content they want to enhance and increase the odds of having high-authority websites share your content.

Quality Content Organically Boosts Visibility and SEO Carol Forden Content Marketing:  Leverage Data

Quality content is shared widely with mentions and links from high-authority blogs.

Often this leads to additional links from significant press and trade and similar publications.  As a result, your brand visibility grows.

Content that is in-depth and through is readily shared in social media.  As a result, it is ranked higher by search rankings.

Traditional Media is Looking for Data-Driven Content

Traditional media and televised news are always on the lookout for compelling data-driven stories.  It’s not impossible for a quality piece of content to make its way to television news and other shows.

It is not unheard of for a data-driven, quality piece of content to makes it ways to the likes of Good Morning America, The View, or NBC News.

Carol Forden Content Marketing:  Leverage Data  Your Target Audience and Customers Opt-in for Quality Content

Consumers will offer their contact information in exchange for exclusive “high-value” content.

Utilizing ebooks, and whitepapers and  other “gated” content allows you to move your target audience to mid-funnel.

What’s the “secret sauce”?  Data is the secret sauce.  Data turns marginal and average content into exceptional content.

As a result this content is shared organically and promoted by consumers and both digital and traditional media means.

This brings up the next question …

How and where do you get original data?

Carol Forden Content Marketing:  Leverage Data  Where to Find Data Sources for Content Marketing Campaigns

There are three (3) places to source original data:

  1. Internal Company Data: Companies are sitting on a plethora of unique data.  Just the effort to run and organization creates internal data.  This data consists of sales data, customer purchasing habits, marketing and competitor intelligence, internal research, R&D testing, and results. With a small effort brands can utilize their own internal databases to retrieve unique information and data points.
  1. External Data: Online surveys, in person customer interviews, vendor surveys and interviews are all sources of external data.
  1. Publicly Available External Data: Research studies and data are readily available Using publicly available data requires taking what is often scientific and curved in industry buzzwords and jargon and distilling this down to find and convey  interesting trends and statistics.

How do you use data to create compelling content?

Internal Data

Large companies have learned how to leverage their internal data.  This allows them to uncover interesting stories that generate brand awareness while highlighting their products, services, and values.


At the heart of Airbnb’s marketing is storytelling. The deep knowledge and understanding of their audience coupled with the creative use of consumer data developed Airbnb into one of the most iconic brands today.

The Airbnb brand messaging centers around community and local hospitality.

In 2015, Airbnb told their story using animated video, informing the viewer that around 550,000 New Years travelers spent the night in one of their many rentals across 20,000 cities. The video put a spotlight on the most popular choices for Airbnb guests to ring in the New Year, New York City.

Airbnb sells the experience, not the product.


Spotify constantly collects  data about what songs, playlists and artists its 30 million users listen to.

This allows the music streaming service to combine this information with listeners’ location data and demographics.  Spotify then compiles this data to create

Spotify then compiles this data to create data driven original content for its blog, Spotify Insights.

An example of how Spotify uses this data was the May, 2017 post: How Students Listen 2017.

The Spotify, data driven interactive microsite looked at how different colleges and universities students in the U.S. listen to music.

The site offered insights into the diversity of music that was listened to; popular genres, what schools had the highest percentage of “party playlists” – Penn State leads and the most popular genre of music.

Internal data is a great way for brands to create original stories that are based on insights that only they can access.  This helps them to differentiate themselves from competitors.


Google’s  use its data to communicate the terms most searched for.  Every year, Google complies a ‘state of the nation’ ‘Year in Search’ video.

In testing, viewer response proved ‘overwhelmingly positive’, to the two-minute film that reviewed the top searches of 2016 by showing footage that included tragic and joyful moments.

This video ranked in the top 1% of all ads tested in 2016.

Combining data with emotions allows Google and other brands using the same approach the ability to identify topics and events that will engage with their target audience.


Zillow has data on over 110 million homes across the USA.  Leveraging data with information that ranges from square footage,  value estimates, nearby services and amenities coupled with both curbside and aerial photographs to create compelling content.

Zillow creates data-driven blog posts offering insights such as the best places for millennials to find affordable homes, or the best places to raise a family.

Also, Zillow uses data to produce quirky, engaging content.

In October 2016, Zillow created a blog post about the ‘20 Best Cities for Trick or Treating’.  This post used in-house data that included home values, crime rates, how close homes are to one another, and the share of population under ten years old. To support the data, they created an infographic illustrating the fact that Philadelphia, San Jose, San Francisco, Milwaukee and Los Angeles were the top five cities to celebrate Halloween.

This creative use of data insights to drive content demonstrates that data can have a meaningful impact on your consumers, providing a dynamic and impactful storytelling platform.

External Data

Doing first hand research that consists of surveys, in-person interviews and similar are very viable tools when brands lack a deep pool of data.

Uncovering new insights is done by compelling surveys and similar then analyzing the data to find patterns and insights that tell an interesting brand story.

Publicly Available External Data

If internal data isn’t available and there is no time or budget to develop external data, there are other resources available.

Finding relevant, useful data is as easy as a simple Google search or using public resources such as the  Google Datasets Search
, Social Media APIs, U.S. Census Bureau, BuzzSumo
, and CIA World Factbook Reddit to find interesting datasets, many that are available for free.

Wrapping it Up…

In today’s world of content overload and overexposure, data is the secret sauce ingredient.

Data is what help a piece of content stand out from the millions of other pieces of content by online and offline.

Data from internal and external sources can be used to tell an original and unique story that engages, educates and entices a response from your target audience, bloggers, search engines and new media.

Interested in learning more on how original research and data can improve your content marketing efforts?

Let’s Start Creating

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